AIMS: The electrocardiographic pattern of early repolarization (ER) is related to increased cardiac mortality in the general population. The pathophysiological basis of ER is largely unknown. We investigated the association of echocardiographic structural and functional parameters of the left ventricle with the presence of ER in the community.
METHODS AND RESULTS: The presence of ER (ER+) was assessed in 13,878 participants (mean age 54.6 years, 51.1% women) of the Gutenberg Health Study and related to left ventricular structure and function derived from standard echocardiography. The prevalence of ER was 5.0% (694/13,878), with higher prevalence in men than women (6.6% vs. 3.5%, p < 0.001). In men baseline characteristics differed including a lower BMI and a lower heart rate in ER+ individuals, whereas in women there were only minor differences. Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression analysis in men showed an association of ER with smaller diameters (left-ventricular end-diastolic diameter: OR 0.77 95% CI 0.69-0.86, p < 0.001; left-ventricular end-systolic diameter: OR 0.86 95% CI 0.78-0.95, p = 0.0035), and lower left-ventricular end-diastolic and end-systolic volume (OR 0.72 95% CI 0.65, 0.80, p < 0.001 and OR 0.80 95% CI 0.72, 0.89, p < 0.001). In women, the associations of ER with left ventricular diameters and volumes showed a similar direction, but were not as pronounced.
CONCLUSION: In the community, the ER pattern predominantly occurs in men with a low heart rate and a slender habit. Furthermore, ER is not associated with higher left ventricular mass or size but rather with smaller left ventricular diameters and volumes with a regular systolic and diastolic function. Patterns were comparable in women, but less strong.